Open Dialogue takes into Account Public Interest to Support Economy

DAMASCUS, (ST) -. During a meeting held recently by professors of the Faculty of Economy at the University of Damascus, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammed ZaferMahbaq, underlined the importance of conducting an open dialogue and take into account the public interests to support the national economy in light of the circumstances surrounding Syria.

The minister pointed to the repercussions of the crisis and the cease of shipping to prevent bank transfers in addition to sanctions, saying that all of this was the result of the organic link with the countries of the European Union and the West.

“The drift towards the East is strategic in the long term to ease the Western intervention in the national economy, indicating the importance of this approach to reduce the pressure as it is associated with using local money instead of hard currency to get rid as much as possible from the constraints and obstacles that come from the link in foreign currencies and the economy of Western countries,” the minister pointed out.

He also stressed the importance of investment for the advancement of the homeland through encouraging local investors and finding ways to attract investment to because there is no economy or development without investment, pointing to the need to interact with professors and communicate with them about what benefit the Syrian economy and how to improve performance to achieve favorable conditions and improve productive energy.

 For his part, Dean of Faculty of Economy at the University of Damascus, Dr. Mustafa al -Kafri, pointed out to the need to deal with the exceptional situation which the country is going through, indicating that the work must be in two parallel directions to map out plans for the exceptional situation and plans for future matters with respect to production, consumption, and exchange rate and others.

Professors also debated procedures and mechanisms adopted by the government to reduce the degradation of the lira at present and high exchange rate and its impact on the purchasing power of citizens, emphasizing the ability of the academic staff to mobilize human resources to support the national economy and the importance of these meetings between academics to discuss such important topics.

Sh.Kh.

Badia Development: Growing 500 thousand Pastoral Seedlings

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Public Commission for the Management, Development and Protection of the Desert confirmed that the general situation of the pastures in the desert is reassuring and promising thanks to good rain during the season in addition to planting half a million of pastoral seedlings in the desert and producing about 650 thousand seedlings within the framework of rehabilitation of the deteriorating areas despite the difficult circumstances experienced by the country.

The Commission, in a report, showed that it had gathered in cooperation with the local population 1.5 tons of seeds of pastoral different and the process of collecting is still continuous in preparation for use in the rehabilitation of degraded areas, noting that the condition of the shrubs in the reserves between the good and the middle as a result of the good rainfall during the current season.

The Commission emphasized in its report that the reality of livestock is good due to the fact that herds are didn’t exposed to pandemics and diseases as a result of environmental conditions that are acceptable this winter in the Badia. It is expected to get high birth rate, productivity in milk and meat as soon as temperature rises.

The Commission noted in its report that the plants in the desert are in the process of germination and need for a short period to be eligible to receive herds of livestock.

Earlier, the Commission resettled species of extinct plants and endangered species through the establishment of 9 environmental reserves, 13 pastoral nurseries, 10 pastoral seed multiplication centers, gene banks, vegetation and the development of eco-tourism and the protection of cultural heritage of the desert.

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Projects to Protect Water Resources from Pollution

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Syria lies in a semi- arid area which is characterized with scarcity of water resources and lack of compatibility with the regional distribution of the population and thus these resources will be exposed to great pressures in quality and quantity and an increase in demand for water that exceeds the volume of the renewable and available resources in some places and other data are the basis upon which the integrated management of water resources as atop priority due to the importance of water in the national economy, which depends basically on irrigated farming which is considered the largest consumer of water.

The Ministry of State for Environment Affairs as a government agency is responsible for protecting the environment elements, particularly water resources. The ministry doesn’t implement investment projects on the ground such as supplying drinking water or providing sewage services.

Director of Water Safety Bureau at the Ministry of State for Environment Affairs, Eng. Reem Abed Rabbo, said that “the ministry is a body that supervises on water resources, maps out the related environmental specifications, follows up the implementation of its projects by concerned authorities which reflects positively on the environmental situation of water.” 

  Eng. Abed Rabbo confirmed that the ministry, in all its environmental reports issued since the nineties, had given special attention to the protection of water resources, pointing out that the problem of water contamination occupies apriority among the rest of the other environmental problems.

“Syria is among the countries that prepared a national strategy for sustainable development and the ministry seeks access to water bodies and clean waterways by 2025 as a strategic objective. The ministry is implementing a range of activities and projects that will enhance the work on integrated environmental management of water resources, including monitoring projects and integrated environmental management of major rivers and lakes. The idea starts from the need to develop a national plan to reduce gradually of pollutants that are usually discarded in water bodies and main courses of water to get safe and pure water by 2025,” Eng. Abed Rabbo added.

“To achieve this goal, a survey is conducted to all resources of contamination in the river basins and then projected onto digital maps, mapping out a national plan for environmental integrated monitoring of water resources and developing a national plan for environmental management of river basins that aim at gradual reduction of pollutants by 2025,” Eng. Abed Rabbo clarified.

“The work has actually begun in the basin of the North Great River since 2011 to implement the first phase of the project, where all resources of contamination and the sites of discharge on the North Great River, its branches and Lake 16 October Dam were surveyed. All data is downloaded on digital maps by using geographic information system in addition to maps that define sites of sewage contamination,” Eng. Abed Rabbo added.

“All resources of pollution and the sites of discharge at Al -Abrash River in Tarous were surveyed and the work will start in the future to implement the same project on the Southern Great River, Orontes River and Euphrates Dam. In parallel with the implementation of these projects, the ministry plans to set up environment observation networks on main rivers,” Eng. Abed Rabbo pointed out.

Eng. Roula Jabbour, from the Directorate of Water Safety, underlined that setting up environment observation networks on the Northern Great River in Lattakia later will be a first step to be circulated to the rest of rivers in later stages.

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Developing Cooperation with FAO

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Engineer, Ahmed Al –Qadri, recently met with the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations( FAO) in Syria, Erico Hebei. The minister confirmed importance of developing relations of cooperation with international organizations, particularly in these difficult circumstances experienced by Syria to help farmers to continue their farming activities and alleviate their suffering.
Mr. Al -Qadri pointed out the successes achieved by the ministry in the projects carried out in cooperation with the FAO and the Ministry's role in providing all facilities and assistance to farmers such as fertilizers, seeds and. He also explained the difficulties faced by the ministry and the peasants in the recent crisis.
For her part, Hebei underlined the Organization's readiness to increase cooperation with Syria, especially in these circumstances where it will now provide additional support and emergency to the needy through increasing aid to farmers who were affected by the crisis and ensure a part of their needs to mitigate as much as possible from their suffering and work to support the production and agricultural process in the Syrian countryside, pointing out that Syria is the first choice among several countries were nominated to represent the FAO.

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Economy Minister: The State Bears 80 Percent of Citizens’ living

TARTOUS, (ST)- The Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammad Zafer Mahbaq, underlined that the government follows a monetary policy based on the accounts and balances of the national reserves which helped to "maintain the rate of the Syrian pound in an acceptable way during the last two years."

 During a meeting with economic activities in Tartous, the minister pointed that the war on Syria aimed at undermining our brave army, destroy our national economy by manipulating the prices of the exchange of Syrian Pound, smuggling billions of Syrian pounds out of Syria and then buying dollars without concern for the loss or profit.

The minister pointed out to the importance of economic decisions issued by the ministry on proposals of businessmen through dialogues which are made through press or directly in order to serve citizens, noting to "the existence of government decisions to finance imports of basic commodities only because it is illogical financing of luxury goods in this stage."

The economy minister said that the complaints received by the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria indicate that the burdens and financing of food commodities that conducted by dollar are sold the lowest price to the consumer where the seller prices according to the black market and " the bank incurs this loss without the benefit of the consumer what requires traders to bear burdens and stay away from obsession to profit."

The Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade pointed out that the government provides many facilities for contractors, particularly the exemption from fines in addition to compensation for price differences, stressing to study the request of any contractor to take advantage of these facilities.

The minister clarified that half of the state budget is dedicated to supporting food stuff, fuel oil and education, and this means that "the State bears 80 percent of living of citizens."

Dr. Mahbaq called everyone to stop the speculation to store and monopoly materials and work to spread awareness in this field among all segments of society, pointing out that the national economy has exposed to a lot of vandalism at the hands of terrorist groups, however, " the national economy is still intact and able to meet the basic needs of citizens ".

“The aim of the meeting with the economic activities in Tartous is to see the economic realities of the governorate and assess the impacts of decisions issued by the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade, and the possibility of overcoming the obstacles,” the minister commented.

For his part, Governor of Tartous, Nizar Mousa, underlined the importance of the meeting between the Minister of Economy with the businessmen and members of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Tartous to upgrade the economic reality in the governorate, which is getting ready to receive all industrialists from other governorates who their facilities were damaged by armed terrorist groups.

 The participants showed the need to finance imports of commodities, pointing out that the potential of investment in Tartous is weak and needs to be activated through facilitating the granting of licenses, increase support for exports of olive oil and citrus, overcome the routine procedures for both economic and supplying sides to ease the growing burdens on citizens.

Sh. Kh.